The Caribbean island of Barbados will no longer recognize Queen Elizabeth as the head of state in 2021. The government announced through its Governor-General Sandra Mason that it was time for it to leave behind the country's colonial past and usher in changes.
On Nov. 30, 2021, Barbados will be celebrating its 55th year of independence from Great Britain. Mason said that Barbados will also become a republic.
Mason read the letter from Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley about their plans for 2021. The prime minister said that her fellow countrymen have been wanting to have a Barbadian head of state for a long time.
Sources from Buckingham Palace said that the decision does not come as a surprise since the Barbadians have been publicly discussing their sovereignty many times. The sources also said that the decision is really up to the people of Barbados and not Queen Elizabeth.
A spokesperson for the Foreign Office in the U.K. said that the country's partnership with Barbados is enduring because of "shared history, culture and language." The U.K. will keep working with the Caribbean island as well as the other nations in this territory, regardless of the changes.
The Queen is not involved in running the government of Barbados. However, she is in constant contact with the Governor-General, who is her representative in the country.
Barbados will be the first country in nearly 30 years to remove the Queen as the head of state after Mauritius in 1992. It is still a member of the Commonwealth, comprising 54 countries that used to be British territories.
In July, Prince Harry made a controversial statement about the U.K. needing to correct the mistakes of its colonial past. The Duke of Sussex received criticisms for allegedly disrespecting his grandmother, the head of the Commonwealth nations, with this statement.
Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth is still the head of state of 16 other countries. These include Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Bahamas.
Following Barbados' move, Daily Express reported that Canada might soon follow after republicans in their government called leaving the Commonwealth realms in the aftermath of Harry and Meghan Markle's exit. The republicans, who are antimonarchist, said that Canada must "distance" from the Queen as well as members of the royal family.
Canada has been independent from Britain since 1867 but still recognizes the Queen as the constitutional monarch and head of state.